What does Hirsh say when he’s inside the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Have a look at the second video on this link. Actually it looks like it is going to be a crap film and it looks like Hirsh is going to be cast as the new Norm Finkelstein. What can you do?

The whole text of the speech I made that day is on the old Engage site. I guess it was edited selectively.

16 Responses to “What does Hirsh say when he’s inside the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs?”

  1. fred Says:

    the video doesnt seem to work very well, it keeps reloading every few seconds, i cant make out what’s being said.

  2. David Hirsh Says:

    When I gave the speech (the link to the full text is above) I indicated that I had finished talking by saying “thankyou” in a kind of final way.

    Shamir has edited it so that “thank you” comes after the end of the first introductory paragraph.

  3. fred Says:

    have you seen the whole film? in the trailer you posted, I don’t see where you say “thank you.”

    why have you concluded it’ll be crap?

  4. David Hirsh Says:

    Have a look at the other link I gave.
    I haven’t see the film so don’t know if it will be any good. I suspect it will be a long Livingstone Formulation. But we’ll have to wait and see.

  5. fred Says:

    ok, I got it to work by letting the whole video load before watching it.

    I did a google translate on the article, doesn’t work great. I don’t think the url will work if i post it. anyhow here’s the caption on the second video:

    “Unpopular Critics: On a conference in Israel is the English professor David Hirsch the only one who points out that dissatisfaction with Israel may be due to the occupation of Palestinian areas. He is met with head shaking and harsh criticism.”

  6. PetraMB Says:

    I trust you saw the films website:

    I’m not quite sure what to make of it; in the trailer, the scene in the classroom and the way the school councillor and the kids talk seem somehow unnatural; also I’m quite doubtful that there are schools where they would try to tell Israeli kids that it’s dangerous to travel abroad — given how much Israelis travel abroad, who would believe that?
    The scene with Dinah Porat is quite amusing — did the two of you eventually make peace? Or will we first have an Israeli-Palestinian peace???

  7. Jonathan Says:

    Descrition from the Eurodok website:

    “The film’s claim is that anti-Semitism is a concept that largely cultivated and kept alive by the Jews themselves, and that has created an entire industry. And the organizations that AFL, despite its objectives, helping to keep the prejudices against the Jews alive.”


    Review in Variety:


  8. PetraMB Says:

    Jonathan, great links that shed light on the mystery!

  9. Maria Says:

    Sometimes the Google-translation machine gets it almost right… (This is all I had time for at 7am – if you want, David, I will translate the rest later)

    Never experienced anti-Semitism himself.

    Are Jews using the term cynically? The Michael Moore of Israel deals with the case.

    (Main picture:) Agents and anti-Semitism: In this clip from the documentary ‘Defamation’ we are shown how an Israeli school class is prepared for what will meet them of anti-Semitism in Europe when they, as part of a school trip, will be visiting the concentration camps in Poland.

    (And as a caption below the video:) Unpopular critic: At a conference in Israel the English professor David Hirsh is the only one who points out that dissatisfaction towards Israel might be caused by the occupation of Palestinian territories. He is met with and head shaking and harsh criticism.

    (Other video caption:) Afraid to go outside: The Israeli school class is on a trip to Poland but some of the students are afraid to go outside. The Israeli Secret Service agent has told them that it will be dangerous to leave the hotel due to anti-Semitism.

    (Third picture on the right:) Never experienced anti-Semitism himself: Film maker Yoav Shamir, who is Israeli and Jewish is surprised that he has never experienced anti-Semitish himself (on his body) even though Israeli newspapers are full of such stories/articles. Thus he made ‘Defamation’.

    (Fourth picture): Mighty Man: In the film Shamir follows, among other, Abe Foxman, the leader of the large American organisation the Anti-Defamation League which maps and speaks of hatred towards Jews all over the world.

    (Fifth picture:) Secret Service: The school class from Israel who is visiting Poland are accompanied by an agent from the Israeli Secret Service as protection against neo-Nazis and general anti-Semitism.

  10. David Hirsh Says:

    Thanks Maria

  11. fred Says:

    M&W are in the film, according to Variety. M has a new LRB piece. would you believe — it’s about a certain lobby, and how the internet has become its most potent adversary

  12. Mira Vogel Says:

    Not so long ago somebody influential commented on Engage that we don’t do enough to criticise Israel. He said that people would respect us more if we did. You got the impression from him that there are a bunch of people – some of them advocates for Palestine – out there who would like to take a stand against antisemitism, but they feel that it is somehow ‘Zionist’ to do so. They make the political choice that they would rather be thought antisemitic than Zionist. They blame Engage – if Engage would just act a bit less Zionist then they wouldn’t have to make that kind of choice. I think they have fallen into the trap of Independent Jewish Voices – of thinking that if you’re not conspicuously against Israel’s Palestine policies, then you’re fair game to be thought of as in favour of them.

    Of course Engage people have opinions about the occupation, and as the video David linked to shows, if nobody else is making those points, we make them.

    However, in this country there’s no end of scrutiny of Israel and Engage came into existence as a single-issue campaign against the antisemitism which is present in it. I think of us as valuable in that we work to prevent antisemitism becoming the definitive characteristic of pro-Palestinian activism.

    We don’t have to earn the right to do what we do by ostentatiously criticising Israel. We don’t have to fit in with UK left intellectual life that way. Nor do we work as if it were possible to provide a manual of how to criticise Israel without being antisemitic – it is impossible to deliver such knowledge. People have to work that out for themselves.

  13. Sabato Says:

    What struck me about the film clip, was its unoriginality.

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard the phrase we “have to stop live in the present and not in the past and to prepare for the future.” I have heard this most of my life. The fact that people feel a need to keep saying it because the “past isn’t past” to use another well known phrase.

    The other thing that struck me was the casual way Norman F. talks about “they” when referring to the Jewish people.

    Finally, the Michael Moore technique of film making doesn’t land itself very readily to an examination of antisemitism which isn’t always visible and can’t be captured through imagery.

    Alain Finkielkraut, the French philosopher writing about antisemitism has said talked about how (I am paraphrasing here) ‘we got used to the fact that our friends, though sexually liberated, i.e. non repressed sexually, (he was writing in the 80’s) don’t often seem ready to see us at first’ meaning that the natural reaction is not one of welcoming but that the welcoming is secondary and non spontaneous.

    This is something you can’t capture on film. I also doubt that this has anything to do with Israel.

  14. Efraim Says:

    “M&W are in the film, according to Variety. M has a new LRB piece. would you believe — it’s about a certain lobby, and how the internet has become its most potent adversary.”

    Did they also mention that the internet is also home to all the Holocaust deniers in the world?
    It’s not as if antisemitism were absent from the web.

  15. Milson Says:

    “Not so long ago somebody influential commented on Engage that we don’t do enough to criticise Israel. He said that people would respect us more if we did.”

    I would respect pro Palestinian activists if they did more to criticize antisemitism in Arab and Muslim countries.

  16. Joshua Says:

    “M&W are in the film, according to Variety. M has a new LRB piece. would you believe — it’s about a certain lobby, and how the internet has become its most potent adversary.”

    From that piece:

    “But something happened there that would never have happened in the mainstream media: the lobby faced real opposition. Indeed, a vigorous, well-informed and highly regarded array of bloggers defended Freeman at every turn and would probably have carried the day had Congress not tipped the scales against them. In short, the internet enabled a serious debate in the United States about an issue involving Israel. The lobby has never had much trouble keeping the New York Times and the Washington Post in line, but it has few ways to silence critics on the internet.”


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